Co-owners have pushed for cheeky start-ups


posted on Friday, May 27, 2022 at 8:42 am

Vitriol ads, legal battle … The emergence of start-ups, which intend to upset the management of co-owners, puts established real estate professionals on the defensive.

They are called Bellman, Homeland, Syndic One, Hello Syndic … Young companies, which present themselves as “neo-syndics”, following the example of “neo-banks”, offer computer solutions to facilitate the management of administrators.

The co-ownership syndicate manages the common parts and burdens of the building. It can be cooperative, ie voluntarily piloted co-owners, or professional, where it is entrusted to a company for a fee.

One of these new companies is crystallizing the opposition: Matera.

The start-up, which offered help to volunteer managers without being a professional administrator itself, distributed an aggressive advertising campaign in 2019 and 2020 ridiculing the sector’s traditional heavyweights.

– “Ambiguity” –

The community’s response was swift: two lawsuits were filed against the company, which was accused mainly of illegal profession.

At first instance, the Paris Commercial Court ruled in favor of Matera on this point, but ruled that it had committed unfair competition and deceptive business practices.

Matera appealed and another summons for similar complaints is being examined by a Paris court.

“Matera has developed an ambiguity between being a caretaker or not being a caretaker,” thunders Jean-Marc Torrollion, president of the National Real Estate Federation (Fnaim).

“It’s a ridiculous thing for me,” said Matera boss Raphael Di Meglio. “They know very well that we always present ourselves as an aid to a cooperative syndicate,” he assures.

Recently, online administrators have again outraged professional organizations that accuse Matera of setting up a “clickbait” or indulging in “syndic-bashing.”

“There are existing players who defend annuities and who, in my opinion, are not very able to innovate in their sector and their main means of defending market share is to bring legal proceedings,” says Raphaël Di Meglio.

– “Commercial matter” –

Because there is a very real economic battle behind them.

The new players are “biting market share from administrators who are internally robbed of co-ownership for the benefit of management by the co-owners themselves. So it’s still a commercial matter,” explains AFP Me Elisa Bocianowski. , a lawyer specializing in real estate (and not involved in these cases) at Simmons & Simmons.

These young companies intend to use applications to automate some time-consuming tasks: accounting, filing administrative documents, etc.

“Today, when you go to a traditional administrator, it works a bit like thirty years ago,” says Antonio Pinto, founder of the neo-trustees Bellman. “It’s the accountant who prints things, the assistant will compose the letters and post them, we receive the invoices in paper format, we give the stamps …”

“And when you manage 40 buildings, or 50 or 70, every second counts,” he says.

“Online managers are interesting for small apartments that cannot be managed in the traditional way,” says David Rodrigues of the CLCV consumer association.

Bellman, who manages approximately 500 condominiums, has had co-owners interviewed for the study: 45% of them rate satisfaction with their manager between 0 and 6 out of 10.

Which also led her to launch a bold advertising campaign, where the co-owners who resign from the dismissal of a dysfunctional administrator are represented as masochists in the skin.

Heavy weights in the sector are trying to adjust. Foncia is thus completing an application for managing trusted users for smartphones.

“I think there is room for everyone, but the added value is still linked to the professional in the body,” said Danielle Dubrac, president of the Union of Real Estate Professionals (United), warning that “If the economic model (from new players) is not If the investment does not return, we move on. And these neo-actors may become obsolete very quickly. “

At present, neither Bellman nor Matera are beneficiaries.

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